Best Pellets for Smoking Turkey and How to Use Them

Best Pellets for Smoking Turkey

Are you looking for the best pellets for smoking turkey? If you want to give your turkey meat a rich, smoky flavor, then choosing the right smoking wood is essential. Mild woods with sweeter notes, like fruitwoods, are the best for turkey.

Wood pellets are an excellent choice for smoking turkey because they offer consistent, predictable results. If you're new to smoking turkey, then a hickory or mesquite pellet will add a bold, traditional flavor to your turkey recipe.

In this post, we'll explore the best pellets for smoking turkey and how to use them for a delicious, juicy result. 

What Are the Different Types of Woods for Smoking Turkey?

What Are the Different Types of Woods for Smoking Turkey

There are many types of pellets available for smoking turkey, and each one has its own unique flavor. Here's a brief description of each type:

  • Mesquite- A sweet, smoky flavor that's milder than hickory or oak.
  • Hickory- A strong, bold taste with hints of sweetness. This is the most popular wood used for smoking turkeys because it produces a nice brown color on your bird without overpowering it with an intense flavor.
  • Cherry- A fruity aroma with hints of chocolate and coffee; cherry wood can be used alone or combined with other woods like apple or maple to add another dimension to your turkey's flavor profile
  • Apple- You can also smoke a turkey and give a smoke flavor with the addition of apple wood. It's a kind of wood with a light, fruity flavor that works well with the stronger flavors of hickory and cherry.

Mesquite Pellets

Mesquite is a rich, earthy wood that produces a bold, robust flavor. It's often used in smoking meats because it imparts an unmistakable smoky taste and aroma.

Mesquite pellets are ideal for smoking turkey because they're easy to use and can be added directly to your smoker without having to soak them first. They also burn longer than other types of wood chips or chunks--which makes them ideal if you're cooking on a budget!

However, mesquites aren't always available in stores; if you want some but can't find any locally, you may have better luck ordering online (see Resources below).

Hickory Pellets

Hickory pellets are a great choice for smoking turkey. They produce a robust flavor that's perfect for this holiday dish.

Hickory pellets can be used in both electric and charcoal smokers. They're also an excellent choice for grilling or roasting a whole Thanksgiving turkey, but they may not work well with smaller pieces of poultry like chicken breasts or thighs (see our other blog post on choosing the right wood pellet).

  • Pros: Hickory wood has been used as fuel and food by Native Americans for centuries; it's one of the most common types of wood used by professional chefs today because it adds such an intense smoky flavor to meat dishes like pork ribs or beef brisket!
  • Cons: If you're going for something less intense than hickory, consider using another type of hardwood instead--such as applewood--which will give you more subtle notes without being overpowering.

Apple Pellets

Apple pellets are a great option for smoking turkey. They produce a mild, fruity flavor that is perfect for poultry. Apple pellets can be used in any smoker or grillwith an electric or charcoal heating element.
Apple pellets are also very versatile and can be used to smoke many other types of meat besides turkey, including pork, beef and fish. They're especially good when paired with other flavors like cherry or peach wood chips!

Cherry Pellets

Cherry pellets are used for smoking turkey for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, they produce a mild flavor that's not too overpowering. If you're looking to create a tender and moist turkey without having your guests overwhelmed by the taste of smoke, cherry pellets are an excellent choice.

Cherry pellets can also be used as an alternative fuel when cooking other meats like beef or pork; however, they should never be used as an exclusive fuel source because they burn faster than other types of wood pellets (about 2 hours).

This makes them ideal if you want something quick but don't have time or resources available for long-term smoking processes like those required by hickory or mesquite woods.

Using Wood Chips and  Wood Chunks

Wood chips and chunks are another popular option for smoking your turkey. While they may not be as convenient to use as other types of pellets, they do have their benefits.

Wood chips and chunks are made from real wood that has been cut into small pieces or cubes. They can be used in place of charcoal briquettes in your smoker, which means you won't need to worry about running out during the cooking process!

The downside is that using them will require more effort on your part: You'll need to add more fuel throughout the day so that it doesn't go out while cooking your turkey (or whatever else).

Get the best Wooden Cutting Board by Mevell here!

Tips for Using Pellets to Smoke Turkey

Tips for Using Pellets to Smoke Turkey

When it comes to smoking turkey, using the right kind of wood to use is key. Wood pellets are a popular choice for those looking to add a smokey flavor to their turkey. Here are some tips for using pellets to smoke turkey:

  1. Choosing the Right Wood - Just as you would do when choosing wooden cutting board, it is also important to choose the right type of wood when smoking as it will impact the flavor of your turkey. Cherry and pecan wood are great options, but there are many other types of wood to choose from, such as apple, hickory, and mesquite. Experiment with different woods to find the perfect flavor for your turkey.

  2. Whole Turkey vs. Turkey Parts - You can smoke a whole turkey or just turkey parts. If you're smoking a whole turkey, make sure to remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. If you're smoking turkey parts, try to keep them in a single layer to ensure even smoking.

  3. Using an Electric Smoker - An electric smoker is a great option for smoking turkey. Set the smoker to 225°F and place the turkey in the smoker breast-side up. Add your preferred type of wood pellets to the smoker's wood chip tray, and you're ready to smoke.

  4. Temperature and Cooking Time - Smoking a turkey can take several hours, depending on the size of the bird. A good rule of thumb is to smoke the turkey for 30 minutes per pound at 225°F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

  5. Using a Pellet Tube - A pellet tube is a great tool for smoking turkey. It's a small, cylindrical device that holds wood pellets and produces smoke. Simply fill the tube with your preferred type of wood pellets and light one end with a torch. Place the tube in your smoker or grill, and you're ready to smoke.

  6. DIY Pellet Smoker Box - If you don't have a smoker or pellet tube, you can make a DIY pellet smoker box. To make one, simply place a layer of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and add a layer of wood pellets. Cover the pellets with another layer of foil and poke several holes in the top. Place the box on your grill or in your oven, and you're ready to smoke.

  7. Safety Tips- When using pellets to smoke turkey, it's important to take proper safety precautions. Always use heat-resistant gloves when handling hot equipment or food. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire. And never leave your smoker or grill unattended while in use.

Smoking turkey with wood pellets is a great way to add a natural flavor when smoking poultry. Choosing the right type of wood, using an electric smoker or pellet tube, and following proper cooking and safety guidelines will ensure a delicious and safe outcome. Whether you're smoking a whole turkey or just turkey parts, using pellets to smoke your poultry is a tasty and enjoyable cooking experience.


In conclusion, using wood pellets to smoke turkey is an excellent way to infuse a delicious and natural smoky flavor into your poultry. Different types of wood pellets can create unique flavors, from the sweet flavor / notes of cherry and apple wood to the strongly flavored woods like hickory and mesquite. When smoking a turkey, it's important to choose the right type of wood to achieve the desired taste. By following the tips for using pellets to smoke turkey and experimenting with different woods, you'll be able to create the best smoked turkey recipe with a sweet and savory flavor. 

So go ahead get smoking with your Traeger and try smoking your next turkey with a sweet wood and enjoy the mouthwatering aroma of wood smoke!